Here's why the Ferrari 488 Pista Isn't Perfect

In the four years that Defining Drives has run, only one car has garnered a flawless 10/10 score— the Ferrari 458 Speciale.

As a driving device, the Speciale was (and remains) just about the closest thing to perfection. A four-wheeled nirvana. A car that perfectly encapsulated all that Defining Drives stood for. From the way its sonorous V8 sang to 9,000RPM, to the way it danced down a winding road, the Speciale achieved feats we did not think possible.

Now though, three years on, Ferrari has released its spiritual successor in the form of the 488 Pista. Can it possibly do any better?

Goodness me, it looks tasty, doesn’t it?

‘Tasty’ doesn’t begin to cover it. The Pista (which translates to ‘track’ in Italian) is marriage-threateningly attractive.

More aggressive than the 488 GTB on which it is based, the Pista hosts a larger frontal-air intake and a number of aerodynamic adjustments including (but not limited to) a larger rear-spoiler and more extroverted diffuser. And yet, in spite of the audacious changes, Ferrari have still managed to retain some of the inherent beauty found in the standard 488’s design. A purity unmatched by just about every other supercar manufacturer. Its proportions are millimetre-perfect.

The Speciale was a stunning piece of design, but there is no denying that the Pista is better.

Wait, why is there a hole in the bonnet?

Ah, yes, I thought you might notice that. The infamous bonnet ‘ski-slope’.

Ferrari insists that its existence has something to do with the black-art of downforce. To be honest, I’m not too sure about that. What I am sure about is that it has more than whiff of ‘try-hard’ about it. Does it ruin the otherwise stunning design? No.

That said, don’t stare at it for too long. It grows the longer you do…

Let me guess, the cabin is inhospitable.

No, actually.

Aside from a scattering of exposed carbon fibre and absence of a glovebox, there isn’t much inside that alludes to the Pista’s 90kg weight-saving over the standard 488. For the most part, it is meticulously crafted. And forget the naysayers, the button festooned-steering wheel is a sensual and functional delight.

I cannot express enough gratitude to Ferrari for continuing to produce sports cars without fiddly touch-screens. Such screens usually go out of date quicker than fresh milk in a sauna, thus spoiling otherwise exquisite interiors. Ferrari’s solution (GTC4Lusso aside) is to present all vital driver information in the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. A genius move (aesthetically speaking) that will pay dividends in years to come.

Enough design chat. Is it quick?

I have never been punched in the face, but I imagine the sensation would be akin to flooring the throttle in a Pista.

Delightful

Painfully so.

I have never been punched in the face, but I imagine the sensation would be akin to flooring the throttle in a Pista.

On paper, the 530kW Pista is able to complete the 0-200km/h dash in a mere 7.6 seconds. Yes, there exist hypercars capable of completing the same feat in around six seconds, but it matters not. 7.6 is still one heck of a number.

As is 81.5; which is how many seconds it took the Pista to carve its way around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track. Ask Ferrari and they will inform you that the Pista’s time is less than two seconds off the pace set by their LaFerrari halo hypercar. It would not surprise me if Ferrari were deliberately underquoting the Pista’s time to help LaFerrari owners sleep a little better at night.

After all, it would be mighty embarrassing if Ferrari’s ‘ultimate’ car happened to be slower than its younger—not to mention much cheaper—sibling…

I bet it sounds sensational.

Well, err, not exactly…

Do explain.

Let me get one thing straight: the Pista was never going to sound like a Speciale. I realise that.

But here’s the kicker: It didn’t have to.

Being the first turbocharged special-series V8 Ferrari in over two decades, the Pista was Ferrari’s opportunity to create an entirely new and distinctive sound. A sound that embraced the turbocharger.

Unfortunately, it’s an opportunity they chose not to take.

Instead, when developing the Pista’s power-plant, Ferrari did all they could to make sure it responded and sounded as much like its naturally aspirated forebears as possible.

And does it?

Sort of.

Foot pinned to the floor, the Pista’s engine produces a noise that, while tuneful, is somewhat muffled, as if Ferrari wrapped it in quilts.

Not perfect then?

I’m afraid not.

That’s a shame.

Yes. It is.

However, that’s not to say the Pista isn’t a sensational supercar. In fact, it is right up there with the best released all year. After all, the key ingredients are all there: beauty, balance, break-neck speed, etcetera…

All the key ingredients aside from one, that is. A superstar soundtrack.

Think of it this way, the Pista is still a delicious spaghetti Bolognese.

It’s just missing parmesan.

What do YOU think? Get shouting in the comments below!

SPECIFICATIONS:

ENGINE: 3,902 cc, 8-cylinder, Twin-Turbocharged

POWER: 537kW @ 8,000rpm

TORQUE: 770Nm @ 3,000rpm

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed, dual-clutch automatic

0-100Km/h: 2.85 seconds

TOP SPEED: 340 Km/h

FUEL ECONOMY:12.9L/100 km

KERB WEIGHT: 1385 kg (with optional carbon-fibre wheels)

PRICE (AUD): $645,000

Photography Credit: Manufacturer

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Comments (3)
  • When you've made a car like the 458, it's impossible to come up with something even more special and pure, as its successor, and that's what Ferrari is proving.

    4 days ago
    1 Bump

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